This is not a word that we like to use when describing ourselves. It’s not a word that lifts me up and brings me encouragement. It’s not a word that propels me forward through the day. In fact, if you really reach down to the bottom of how I would prefer to associate that word, I would rather use it to label other things, situations or sometimes even people.
Using the word weak to describe something outside myself, well, it can give me a false sense of feeling stronger in the face of my own weakness.
Weak… I’ve felt weak a lot in the past months. I mean don’t get me wrong I’ve been aware of so many of my struggles and weaknesses forever. But the past months have just taken a big fat, squeaky, bright highlighter to them. The glare is blinding. They cannot be ignored.
When I found out about having our 6thbaby I felt weak. How am I going to be enough for all these children? How am I going to do this?
When I found out about Ava’s diagnosis. After the shock abated a little bit, and the reality of the situation started to settle in, I wanted nothing more than to get off this train. Get back to where I planned on having a healthy baby in the spring. I wanted to stop sitting in the unknowns.
“Can I go back in time? Can I just start this whole thing over and hope for a different outcome?”
Of course, the answer to this is no.
This is my precious baby girl. This is where I am. With her. Our weaknesses exposed together. I can do nothing on my own to fix this.
I felt so weak.
I felt weak as fear would creep in at unexpected times during the day and then also at expected times like when I went to the doctor’s appointments.
I felt weak in the face of one of my biggest fears…losing a baby, a child. And in turn preparing and attending Ava’s memorial.
I felt weak when I didn’t want to get out of bed some mornings, some afternoons….some days.
I felt weak at the thought of having to go through my normal routines, when I felt like my world had stopped. I felt weak when I needed my world to stop…at least for a while.
The reality of facing my weaknesses at such a raw and real level has been hard… gut wrenchingly hard…
Here in my utter weakness and brokenness there is Good News. Here, there is gospel that shines bright and lifts me up.
As the simple, elementary, yet oh so true, children’s song ‘Jesus loves me’ says:
“When I am weak, He is strong.”
I am weak, but my God is Strong!
When I felt fear and inadequacy at having a 6thchild. When I knew I couldn’t be enough, I was reminded that God is enough. He is strong. And He will give me what I need for the days ahead. And often this doesn’t mean it all falls on me. I have an amazing husband who parents alongside me. And other people in our family’s life that also love on my children, encourage me as a mom and a wife.
When I struggled with fear and wanting to give up after Ava’s diagnosis, God reminded me that she is His child first and foremost. And he has entrusted me to carry and take care of her. And through that truth He gave me peace, a peace that doesn’t make sense.
And He gave me joy. Joy that I do get to carry her right now. And joy in being reminded that He carries me. It’s hard to convey how it feels to be ‘carried’ by the Lord in a place of such deep hardship. All I can say about that right now is, it is true.
As I expressed in my last post(Ava Hope), God was with me every step of my terrifying and hard trip to the doctor’s office and hospital. He was with me through her delivery and goodbye.
When faced with the reality of losing a baby, the phrase “hurts like hell” is accurate. However, with the Lord I am not filled with suffocating despair.
I grieve with hope.
In facing one of my biggest fears God has never been absent. Some days I didn’t do much but grieve in my bed. And that’s ok, it was healthy and needed. I may still have some of those days. But God has given me new strength and mercies each morning, to face the day in the capacity that was needed. Some days the pain wasn’t so much, and some days it felt like more than I could bare. But God gave me what I needed for each of them. This is still ongoing and true.
Now let me add a “Life is real in the Stenberg house” story here:
I finally had enough courage to sit down and rip off whatever band aid I had plastered on. I was ready to write Ava a letter. Obviously she is gone, but I needed it.
So here I am, I’m writing, I’m crying,… I look like a mess. Facing this hurts in a healthy way, it feels good to do this. In the middle of writing the letter, I hear a knock on the door. It’s an older man and a young guy. I peek out the window and see their truck. These guys have been working on getting our furnace fixed. Not too long ago they ordered a part and told us it wouldn’t be showing up for a couple more weeks….It came early.
I open the door say hello, and let them in. Those poor guys. They couldn’t have been more uncomfortable after taking a look at my face. They sheepishly explained that the part to the furnace came in faster than expected and they were here to replace it. “We will be done quickly” they said. And they were, they ducked out of my house so fast after they were done! I thought about giving them a simple explanation, but really, I couldn’t come up with anything that would make things less awkward! I am just left to laugh about it now.
OK back to the letter and memorial.
While getting ready for the memorial we had so much help and support. We are so thankful for all the people that made a very hard day, as easy as it could be. It takes a village and ours loved on us that day and the days surrounding. It was a good day and good day in our process of healing.
Daniel sang and played a special song at the memorial and he also gave the message. I shared the letter I wrote to Ava.
We did not know if we were going to be able to make it through what we had planned. In fact, we had a backup plan in the event of an emotional meltdown! I didn’t know how I was going to get up there and share my letter without falling apart. I felt so very weak and afraid of facing that day.
But when I am weak, He is strong.
God’s peace and strength carried us up there, God’s peace and strength transcended all the difficulties, fears and the tears that threatened to take over. Because there were tears, but they didn’t take over. God’s peace and strength carried us through the service through the day.
I wish I could explain to you the feeling of being upheld by God that day, sharing about my girl and the hope we have in the midst of sorrow because of our Lord and Savior. But there are really no words to convey what it feels like when God is carrying you.
God’s message of His love shined that day.
And God’s peace and strength are still carrying us through.
I am no “super Christian”.
I have no “super faith”.
This process has been so hard and messy.
But God is rich in His mercy, grace and provision for all of His children that have faith in Jesus.
This is good news for all of us! Because He desires all of us to be His children.
He desires to carry all of us, and to be a stronghold in times of hardship, hurt and fear.
Whatever the situation now or to come. Take heart because God is enough.
When we are weak, He is Strong.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
9 And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.